The End of an Era

After living in and perfecting our first house for eight years, we found a new fixer upper that stole our hearts.  Our first house will always be our first house love, but we’re officially back to owning one house.  It’s a little sad,  but we’re so happy in the mountain house.  Even more so, we’re happy the buyers are happy in our old home.  Let’s take a walk down memory lane with a reverse before and after picture tour.

Living room before, recently opened to the kitchen:

After our move out:

Dining room before:

An empty after:

Kitchen, just after finishing a complete gut and remodel:

And after the after:

Guest bedroom before:

Now ready to house a cute little girl:

Main bathroom before:

After, emptied out:

Boys’ bedroom before:

And now, ready for the new owner’s stuff:

Master bedroom before:

And after, complete with the custom-made bed built (our buyer bought it from us):

Master bedroom before:


When Ben bought this house, the basement was completely unfinished.  Here it is after finishing it while I was pregnant with Everett:

And two years later:

My office, stocked and ready for work:

Now sad and empty, but ready to work for someone else:

The basement bathroom before:

We never did finish the steam shower under the stairs, but that can be a project for the new owner:

Laundry room and Ben’s reloading office before:

And after we moved everything out, including the washer and dryer:

The small basement bedroom as we had it just before moving:

And after moving:

The large basement bedroom pulled double duty, acting as both a bedroom and a storage room before:

When emptied, it feels even bigger:

Seeing the house empty is especially strange to me because I’ve never seen it this way.  Ben bought the house a couple years before we met, so he had already moved in.  If we’re in this house again, we’ll be visitors.  We’ve become friendly with our buyer, and we’d love to see how the house evolves over time.

Have you been a house after selling it?  Was it odd, or cool?  Did the new owner make any changes?

P.S.  To see true before and afters, check our Our First House page.

Simple Solution: Shelf Life

When we last left off with the theater room entertainment saga, we had just installed the sliding doors, going from this:

To this:

But, we still didn’t have shelves to store the toys.  You see, we didn’t know exactly how much space the sliding cabinets took up before installation, so shelves had to wait.


Then, Ben cut two pieces of plywood to length and depth, minus 3/4 inches.   Why subtract 3/4 of an inch?  To leave room for two strips of 3/4 inch thick by 1 1/2 inch tall MDF to finish off the front shelf face.  Ben simply nailed the thin strips to the front, puttied the nail holes and seam and left the shelves to dry.  Then, I sanded the putty down for a smooth surface and used a spray primer (because I’m lazy and we had it on hand) to cover the board evenly.  In an un-Amanda fit of craze attempt to branch out and add a fun splash of color, I applied two coats of Rustoleums Lagoon blue spray paint to each shelf.


However , I neglected the undersides, end and back edges.  Because A, I ran out of paint.  B, the undersides are not visible unless you’re two feet tall.  And C, I’m lazy.

We’ve just doubled our usable storage by getting toys and blankets off the bottom shelf.  As a bonus, the dark paint won’t show scratches and scuffs as easily as white.

What do you think of the added color splash?  How do you add color to your home?  Pillows?  Art?  Paint?  Have a storage problem you could solve or have solved with additional shelves?

Draw the Curtain

Or, our newly installed cabinet doors in the theater room.  Our nearly finished basement has been just that, nearly finished, for over a year.  A few drawers, drawer fronts and cabinet doors remained.  Last summer, Ben had built the cabinet doors for my office and the theater room entertainment center.  Then, the doors stayed in the garage, unprimed and unpainted for, umm, roughly nine months.  Why does building and finishing cabinet doors take longer than building a baby?  For some reason, we never pushed to complete these tasks.  Until recently.  Over the weekend, we hung the cabinet doors, say it with me, “Finally!”  That’s right, folks.  The entertainment center is nearly finished.

Of course, Ben couldn’t complete this task alone.  He had some help from his apprentice.

Yes, he did crawl over to plop his big baby booty right where Ben was working.  He has skillz.

These doors are on a sliding track system, so a few screws was all it took to install the rollers.  We chose sliders to minimize damage from small hands and keeping the furniture arrangement as open as possible.

The cabinets quickly became a fort and Vincent had so much fun surprising Everett.

We still have to add the door pulls and install the shelves.  If we had followed our original plan, the entertainment center would be completed.  But, something has bothered us about this space.  Too many components are visible.  And, speakers do not allow for decorative items take center stage.  So, now we have  a few more cabinet doors to make, to cover the shelving.  Doors that allow the remotes and sound to function properly.  We have considered either a decorative metal screen, commonly used in radiator covers, and fabric.  Ben is concerned the metal will interfere with the speakers, so fabric is our only option.  Of course, we’ll share when we get those built, probably two years from now.

I’m going to be a tease and build the suspense by sharing the office with you tomorrow.  For now, I want to know if you relaxed over Easter weekend.  Or, did you use the weekend as an opportunity to get some work done?  Either way, did you have fun?

P.S.  Our 1 year blog anniversary is coming up on May 14, so we thought it would be fun to compile all of your questions for a little Q and A post.  If you have a question (or several) about us, our lives, our house or anything really, leave a comment on this post and we’ll answer your questions!  Fun, right?

Birds and a Feather

I didn’t intend to be such a tease when I revealed our progress shots of the basement gallery wall.  After placing my templates, marked with where to nail, I had almost completed the wall.

Of course, almost included cutting a mat, replacing some temporary art and painting a few black frames white.  But the weather was not on my side, until this past Sunday.  Two Saturdays ago, it was 75 degrees here, which sounds beautiful, right?  But if I painted then, I would have had more paint on me than on the frames because it was so windy.  Sunday’s high temp was 35 with intermittent snow/rain showers, so painting was out of the question.  That’s spring in Montana for you.  Last week brought highs in the fifties with gusts of wind and sporadic rain, so still no painting.  Finally, Sunday was perfect, 55 degrees with a slight breeze.

I disassembled my frames, breaking one piece of glass along the way (grrr!), hauled the frames, spray paint in hand, to the back yard and set up shop.  Two coats of gloss white and a few hours of dry/air out time later, I was back in business.  Hanging the frames was easy because I had already placed the nails.  Here is the final (well, until I get bored or find new art to add in) wall:

I really love having a complete wall in our basement.  And, you can catch a glimpse from the top of stairs.  But, let’s take a closer look.

The bird, feather or tree theme + collection of white frames = cohesive gallery wall.  All of the art came from Etsy, was a free printable or something I made.  Here’s a complete gallery wall source list, from left to right:

1.  Northern Flicker by Mai Autumn.

I just ordered this print, so I printed off a temporary design until I receive it.

2.  Original Pressed Feather, for sale in the Our Humble A{Bowe}d Etsy shop.

3.  Nesting Hand Cut Silhouette by Jessica Alpern.

Jessica, and the rest of her work is fantastic as well, so fantastic that I couldn’t resist her Spork, Welcome to the Family cut out for our kitchen.  But, if you’re looking for bird, feather or tree cut outs of your own, might I suggest Leaf Skeleton, or Peacock Feathers?

4.  Willow photograph from Ara133 Photography, which I mentioned a while back.

5.  Polymer clay wall flowers.  Find how I made them here, though I did make a new set of three.

6.  Collection No. 18 by Lori’s World, a gift from a friend.  Check out the other amazing bird related prints, too.

7.  Bird print I mounted to a 4 inch square piece of MDF.

8.  Baby Feather Original Petite painting from Renée Anne.  It was a toss-up between the feather and this Bird I Once Knew petite print.  The feather won because it is an original.  Shipping was fast and the painting is of great quality.

9.  Family Tree cut out, customized in colors of choice, in our shop.  I’m really great to work with, too.  Haha.  But really, try it for yourself.  *Wink*

10.  Free bird printable from That’s Happy, mentioned here before.

11.  Bird painting I recently whipped up.

12.  Autumn Landscape print from Siiso.

It was so hard to decide on something from the Siiso shop.  Every new print I saw was just as fantastic as the last.  I also bought the Blossoms 35 print as part of a housewarming gift for my sister.  She loved it!  Tell Yang Yang hello from us if you order.

13.  5 by 5 Float print by Cat N Photography.

I also bought the Heart print for our guest bedroom.  Cat is great.  If you’re looking for interesting photography, just ask Cat.

14.  I Believe There is Someone for Everyone print by Amy Ruppel.

I’ve admired her work since seeing Nicole’s commissioned painting, so it’s cool to have her work in my home.  Some day, I’d love an original.

Last but not least, number 15, Autumn Feathers by Miles of Light.

The photo is so realistic, Ben thought I had framed feathers.  When I told him it was a print, he had to inspect it to believe me!  I don’t know how she does it, but Romina takes such beautiful photos.  If only I could learn her secrets.

See any art you want to order?  Have you made any bird, feather or tree art?  Have you seen the Geico Bird in the Hand commercial?  Definitely not their best, but I do love their woodchuck commercial.  And Ben does a great impression of the grumpy farmer.  Do you have a themed gallery wall on your home?  Maybe you know a few photography secrets or tips?

Please note: We were not compensated for this post, we simply love the items we’ve purchased from these shops and want to share with you!

All  images found via the featured Etsy seller’s listing as linked above.

P.S.  We’d really appreciate your vote!  Thank you!

Just Hangin’ Around

Last weekend we hung around, literally.  We finally hung the mirror in the basement bathroom.

I don’t know what took us so long, it wasn’t a difficult task.  But now, I want to paint the mirror.  Of course, I could paint it black, white or grey, but a color would be a fun pop.  Maybe a blue to tie in with the theater room just outside?  We’d love to hear your suggestions.  While Ben was working in the bathroom, I asked him to cut down the bolts that hold the toilet down because the cover caps couldn’t snap on.  Now, the little caps are tightly in place, not resting on bolts 1/4 inch above the base.  After he took care of business in the basement, he went to the master bathroom and did the same thing.  That took two and a half years.  Riveting, I know.  Can you say, ‘Slackers’? cause that’s what we are.

After hanging the mirror, we hung two candle sconces in the theater room, flanking the fireplace.

As you can see, we still haven’t touched up the areas we taped off around the rock wall when spraying the basement a year ago.  (Slackers!)

Though, in my defense, I plan to touch up the white areas when we paint the laundry room cabinetry.  But, who knows when that will be done.  We haven’t worked on it for a few weeks.  (Total Slackers!)

Then, I (well, I started, but my bother-in-law saw that I was using a screwdriver and finished the job for me) hung two  curtain rods in the small basement bedroom.  One behind the bed, by my newly finished $10 lamp.

And the other above the other window.

Now, let me address a few issues.

One, I bought the panels from Target on clearance for five bucks each (wahoo!); I couldn’t even make curtains for that price.  The issue here?  I could only get two because that’s all she wrote.  So, ideally, we would have been able to balance the off centered walls with more curtain panels, but it wasn’t in the cards.  That and the fact the window trim goes right to the ceiling with crown molding butting up to the casement.  Mounting the brackets would have been a nightmare.  It just wasn’t meant to be.

Two, because the windows are so close to the ceiling, the panels look like they’re waiting for a flood.  I do have a plan to remedy this, though, just haven’t done it yet.  I know, surprise, surprise.

Three, the curtain rods were cheap, like $3 a piece cheap, so features on more expensive rods are missing.  Namely, the small screws that keep the rod from sliding around every time the curtains are opened or closed.  I did fix this with a few small chunks of sticky tack (you know, the stuff teachers use to hang posters and other temporary items) on each bracket, under the rod.  Works like a charm.

In summary, it takes us a year to finally finish something that is super simple.  It also takes us a week to post about the weekend progress, making it last weekend’s progress.  The good news?  Ben cut down trees all weekend at the apartment complex, so we didn’t get any work done around our house.  Actually, that’s not completely true, but stay tuned for that tomorrow.  (Hint: it involves nice weather)  All in all, we’re slackers.

Anyone else a slacker?  Do you have simple projects on your to do list for a year (or longer)?  Maybe you’re the opposite, the overachiever?  I bet you got some work done this weekend.  Please share, with links, if possible.  We love to see what you do!

P.S.  Have you voted yet?